Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Travels from A to Z: What's Yours? [Updated]

Like it? Share it on Facebook or Twitter!

L is for Lighthouse. Just one of my favorite things.
I have always thought it would be a great idea to relive my travel adventures since I marked my first year of blogging last January. So when Connie Hum of Connvoyage asked if I want to be tagged in this A to Z travel meme, naturally, I said yes. Here's my travel alphabet so that you   can reminisce your own adventures while reading about mine:  
A: Age you went on your first trip.
Based on my old photos, I have been traveling since I was a toddler. (Don't ask what year!) I guess I am lucky that my family likes going out. I can't recall when was my first international trip though - it's either a trip to Hong Kong or to the U.S.

One of my oldest travel photos was taken in Baguio City
 when there were still many pine trees. 
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where?
I'm not a fan of beer. (Sorry!) Somehow they taste all the same to me.  So I'll just state the nicest one I've enjoyed, it's a Beer Below Zero in Davao City, Philippines. The freezing cold (not just ice cold) beer was perfect for the humid weather. Now if we're gonna stick strictly to foreign beverage, my pick will be the Mai Tai drink I enjoyed in a bar in Waikiki, Hawaii.  For me, Mai Tai and pupus are the perfect summer combo. 

C: Cuisine (favorite). 
I am partial to Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese food. I am constantly in search of the perfect dumplings, tempura, and pho. 
D: Destination (favorite and least favorite).
People I know raise their eyebrows whenever I say I didn't really like my trip to Bangkok, Thailand. Though I love the food and the temples, the city was just too chaotic for me (which irks my friend who believes that Manila equals chaos). To each his own, I guess.

As for my favorite destination, it's the Philippines. I know, I know, I was born and raised in this country. Yet there is so much beauty to see in this nation's 7, 107 islands that I myself am amazed at what I discover in each of my trips . 
Catching a sunset in the Philippines: Priceless.
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow.”
It's hard to pick one single event as every experience abroad makes me say "Wow!". There's just something magical when you're out of your comfort zone and in a place different from your usual surroundings.  Cheesy but true. 
Finding the Secret Falls in Hawaii after a long hike
(and shoes not made for hiking) is one of my many "Wow!" moments.
F: Favorite mode of Transportation.
Other than getting lost while walking, I like riding on trains. Trains let me see both the good side and the hidden face of a city.
G: Greatest feeling while traveling.
That I can do something I have always wanted to do, especially when I travel solo.  That I can see for myself something that I used to read or just hear about. It's just totally exhilarating!

H: Hottest place you've traveled to.
I thought nothing could beat the tropical weather in the Philippines until I walked around Singapore one afternoon. With no trees and lots of concrete, it was so damn HOT that I was sweating buckets.  It makes me wonder how the weather is  like in South Africa. Anyone who has been there?
I:  Incredible service you have experienced and where?   
The first thing that came to mind was this experience at a bar in Marriot, Kauai.  I ordered a soda and told my companions that I hope it wasn't too obvious that I was the only one not drinking alcohol. I think one of the staff overheard and served my soda in a cocktail glass, garnished with a pineapple and a paper umbrella. A really nice gesture!  
J: Journey that took the longest.
The journey that took the longest was my trip to Southeast Asia. My friends and I decided to do an Amazing Race-inspired trip where we visited 4 countries in just 1 week! The planning took long and the journey to each places even longer as we didn't anticipate certain bumps in the road. Still, it was one of the most exciting journeys I've ever had. 

5 cities, 4 countries, 7 days. Amazing Race trip around Southeast Asia. 
K: Keepsake from your travels.
Pins, banners, magnets and tons of photos. (So touristy, right?) I collect pins and banners whenever I travel outside the country to represent Rotaract. The magnets go to my mom who places them on our fridge's door. Unfortunately, I lost most of those travel souvenirs (including the photos) to Typhoon Ketsana. 
L: Letdown site and where?
California girls may be unforgettable but Los Angeles, California was just disappointing for me. Being the home of Hollywood, I expected it to be a fun and vibrant place.  It wasn't.  Maybe the smog ruined it for me.  
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel
I don't know the exact moment I fell in love with traveling...maybe it started from those  unplanned road trips or those adventure books I read as a kid.  I just love traveling and I want to keep doing it till I can. 
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed at.
When I travel out of the country, I don't really stay in a hotel unless it's a business trip and most of the time, I'm too busy to notice anything but the bed.  So I'll just have to say that the most fun hotel stay I had was at the Star Beauty Hotel in Taipei back in 2007.  A typhoon hit Taiwan just as my sister and I were about to take our return flight.  Our hosts, the Rotaractors of Taipei Toa Tiu Tian, made sure that the weather did not spoil our trip as they spent the day with us eating, sharing stories, playing games and singing in the karaoke. How's that for being nice?

(But if you really want me to name a consistently good hotel I've stayed at, I would say it's Shangri-La.) 

Goofing around at Star Beauty Hotel in Taipei.
O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?
Architecture, monuments, and bodies of water. I must confess I am not good at taking photos so I often take many shots of something I like.

One of my nicer shots of Lapu Lapu's Monument in Cebu.
P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?
My latest passport doesn't have a lot of stamps as my recent travels are focused on exploring the Philippines. Do the stamps of the Lakbay Rizal Passport count? :)
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where
Watching barbers cutting hair on the sidewalks of Hanoi, meeting Ladyboys in Bangkok, going to a man-made beach in Singapore, seeing Betel nut beauties in Taiwan, going to the Cemetery of Negativism in Baguio - doesn't every destination have a quirky attraction?   It's hard to pick just one. 

I just had to take a shot when I saw them.
R: Recommended site, event or experience.
Traveling through Rotaract, a service organization for students and young professionals. My most memorable trips were those I made as part of a goodwill visit or cultural exchange with Rotaractors from different countries. It allowed me to "do what the locals do" and visit places that ordinary travelers probably wouldn't get to explore.

Representing Philippine Rotaractors in Singapore
S: Splurge. Something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling.
Food. Glorious Food.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done.
A lot! From obligatory photos in front of famous landmarks to silly photos with celebrity wax figures.  Yes, you read the last part right. Here's a proof:

One-on-one with Yao Ming at The Wax Museum.
U: Unforgettable Travel Memory.
Shoot me, I'm a Trekkie. My most unforgettable travel memory was going to the Star Trek Adventure, one of the attractions then at Universal Studios. Too bad I wasn't called to join the "cast" that would be part of the souvenir video. My brother, however, played an ensign and donned a Star Trek uniform. I was secretly jealous of him for sometime.
V: Visa. How many and for where?
I think my current passport only has one and it's from Taiwan. (Hey, that rhymes!)  The other passport with many stamps and visas is long gone. 
W: Wine. Best glass of wine while traveling and where?
You would have probably figured out by now that I don't drink alcohol that much. A complimentary glass of wine that I had with my friends while on a sunset cruise is the only one I recall right now so that's probably the best. Fingers crossed, I'll head to Napa Valley soon and try those wines that my travel buddies are raving about.
X: eXcellent view and from where?
Any view from the top of a mountain or from a train. But I must say that my most recent, jaw-dropping view  happened in the Philippines. I thought New Zealand was the only Middle-Earth worthy location but my road trip from Bukidnon to Lanao del Sur in Mindanao proved otherwise. The mountains and grassy terrain were just spectacular that you have to see it for yourselves. 
Y: Years spent traveling.
I've been traveling since I was a toddler. So that's like 16 years? Wait, who am I kidding?! There's no way am I revealing my age!
Z: Zealous sports fans and where?

There may be many zealous sports fans around the globe especially in countries where there are rabid football fans but Metro Manila during a Manny Pacquiao title fight is something else: No traffic. No crime.  Enough said. 
Now that you know my ABCs, next I want you to find out the travel alphabet of:

Paul of WalkFlyPinoy  and Lili of Lifeisacelebration. Both have traveled a lot and I'm sure they have a wealth of travel memories to share!

What about you, what are some of your memorable travel adventures? Pick a letter in the alphabet and share! 


  1. With all my journey composing encounter, Costa Rica was the best position.

    couriers UK

    1. Costa Rica does seem like an interesting travel destination. :)

  2. Mindanao is a really beautiful place.

  3. The mention of your Bukidnon trip made me remember my trip there too. I stayed almost a month in Mindanao traveling via bus and enjoying the sceneries esp the CDO BUKIDNON trip.

    Glad to read these info about you, Rain.

    1. Wow! One month in Mindanao! :-) I'm jealous.


Got something to share? Leave a comment.(Just make sure it's not nasty.)